~A note on cultural appropriation~
•Recordings are for your ears only! Do not disseminate. For real. It's illegal.•
•And bear with me on some of these, they're quite imperfect. Sometimes its flat by the end of the recording, or my voice is straining. But I hope these rough cuts get the basic parts across!•
•If a track glitches, try refreshing the page.
1. Create a shortcut to his page on your desktop
2. Use the search function to find the song you're looking for. ctrl. + F or cmmd. + F
An important reminder to count our blessings. There is so much to be thankful for, and at times our minds can be like velcro to negative things in life, while acting like teflon to the good stuff. Daily gratitude practice is so helpful to keep things in perspective, and having this song stuck in your head works pretty well!
All around me are blessings
all around me
In this song, Laurence captures that moment of bewonderment that takes place when a vast body of water opens up before you. He has a detailed account (and his own stellar practice tracks!) on his website here, so these are kind of redundant, but enjoy!
When I saw all that open water
something opened in my soul
I felt the peace in the beauty of all that is
reminding me all is one, all is round, all is full
all is well, all is whole.
One of my mentors from BC composed this. He said, roughly, “There are so many songs that only use ‘Alleluia’, that I wanted to make a really special one, and only do it once. This is my alleluia”.
This song came to me as I was watching the sun go down on a brisk Fall evening. The deepening color complexity in the leaves' melancholy yet celebratory changing; overlaid with the echo of that same bittersweet transition in the day's cycle into nightfall. Every Autumn I feel like I'm coming home.
Autumn light fading right into the end of day
Autumn air, lead me where I'm home, home to stay.
The day is leaving, the stars have come
The color of dreams, the color of dusk
The color of peach, the color of rust
Fading into all my dreaming
Crafting an object, all that is around us and inside us is reflected in what we create. This song was co-created by a group of friends, asking themselves, "what is it that I'd like to put into this sacred object as my hands work? What do I want to weave into my life in this moment? crafting as prayer.
• Weaving my magic into a basket; what am I calling in?
Weaving our magic into a basket, together we're woven in.
• Weaving our voices, in a basket to carry my soul
Weaving our voices, together we're woven in
•Baskets of harmony, you are a part of me.
Baskets of harmony, together we're woven in.
Debbie Nargi Brown Is yet another song leader percussionist virtuoso, based near Santa Cruz. This is a fun insta-song reminding us that we don't know what is going to happen, so we may as well be open to positive outcomes.
The story behind this song is a powerful one, and I highly recommend listening to this seven minute podcast by Julia Alvarez. It is this piece of her writing that Laurence wrote the song from. The lyrics are a direct quote from Henry James, and the overall message is one of deep acceptance of the world even in the darkest of times.
Be the one on whom nothing is lost
and you will gain the whole world, and a soul besides.
Based on the words of Rumi, this hauntingly beautiful and spacious piece is a powerful reminder. Nickomo is a composer in the UK who does lots of spiritual chants and rounds. Check it out here.
May the beauty of what we love, what we love,
be what we do...
Song alchemist Annie Zylstra derived inspiration for this song from the shifting nature of the land by the Trinity river in California. The river would periodically flood, washing away huge stony banks, and oftentimes homes and farms. The Trinity mountains were scarred with layer after layer of wildfire burns. As the salmon runned up the river, their bodies were in active decay whilst simultaneously achieving the lifelong task of spawning. Blessed Motion is an ode to the changingness of it all, outside of us and within us. Annie also quotes Martîn Prechtel who after witnessing the Guatemalan earthquake of 1976 devour entire villages, reflected that solid ground is just a myth for those who live on the earth rather than in it. For those of you want to dig deeper, here are her practice tracks, with a fun layering second part.
I believed in solid ground, until I saw the earth in motion.
In the winds of steady change, and in the ever rolling ocean.
A super catchy song about the deeper connection we may cultivate with one another if we are brave enough to say what we feel! And about letting honesty guide us.
Part One: This bond of trust, it will hold you. You are safe there. Safe there.
Part Two: May the truth be the guide. May it shine bright. May the truth guide the light.
Part Three: The truth! Show me the way. Give me the courage to say...
Part Four: If I feel it, I will say it. If I feel it I'll Say it say it-Say it say it!
Another awesome nature-based song from Bend, OR based song leader Kira seto, this one is rich in layered harmonies that come crashing together, and evoke the dance of pollinators! Some lyrics were also a collaboration with Ian Carrick.
Catchy and quick teach! I encourage you to learn this round well enough to teach it widely. Based on Paulette Meyers' Original, Can work as three micro-parts or as a round, which I prefer.
A new and soothing song by Karly, this song brings us into our bodies and encourages trust in oneself. The descending low part is really fun and could be octaved up. Really an anthem inviting lots of harmonies.
Breathe easy, let it all go
rest your body, trust your soul
to guide your way and keep you whole
breathe easy let go.
A humorous and epic round I learned from friends from the Murmurations choir from New Orleans.
"Cats meow out of angst....Thumbs, if we only had thumbs thumbs, If we only had thumbs, if we only had thumbs...we could we could we could we could break so much!"
A part of a longer composition by Vanessa Degrassi of the Murmurations choir of New Orleans, This is a tribute to the goddess of the dawn in Greco-Roman mythology, Eos. Written with the intention to be sung by worshipers who encourage Eos up over the horizon at dawn.
-Cauldron of light,
Cauldron of light,
the colors alight
the heart beats the time
-Copper and red
ribbons of dawn
-Blood is on the land
the heart beats on
the blushing (blood)
Based on a quote from Brooklynn Childs, melody by Karly Loveling, brand new, learned at Song Village this June. What a gem, and yet another vegetable-themed banger. We contain more than we know...
-If cauliflower can somehow become pizza, you, my dear, can be anything
-There's cashew cheese, and avocado mayonnaise, just think, what could you become?
- I want you to reach beyond your wildest dreams. Way beyond mushroom jerky.
I met Kjerston this year and was struck by her unique groovy songleading style. This one stood out to me as a special bop. It reminds me of classic funk. She likes to play with words, like "be-holdin'".
-Celebrate the beauty we behold here now,
celebrate the beauty we be holdin'
A fun gathering song from Ghana. The words mean "Come back to shore with your boats, it's about to rain." I'll write the lyrics phoenetically.
che che ku le
che che ku fi sa
ku fi sa lan ga
kata chi langa
um a day day
Joyous and heartening song of welcome and inclusion. Great for the beginning of a party, conference, etc. Words are from Jelaluddin Rumi.
Come, come, whoever you are
lovers of leaving
Ours is no caravan of despair
come, come again, come
An English nursery rhyme, once featured on sesame street. I've heard various versions of it, but here is mine. The song asks a question and answers it, so it naturally should be sung by more than one person. Whither means "to where?" . Fun and simple, good for leading someone into the forest!
Come follow follow follow follow follow follow me
whither shall I follow follow follow
whither shall I follow follow thee?
to the greenwood, to the greenwood, to the greenwood greenwood tree!
This song shows us, very viscerally, how we can merge into an entity that is greater than the sum of its parts! Overtones emerge and new melodies are discovered when we weave into this tight round. Here is a video of Ysaye Barnwell teaching it. Great warm up!
A classic round, and one that I often hear sung in a simplified or shortened manner. A bit of a workout for the vocal chords to get all those notes just right...Latin for "grant us peace"
I learned this song from Kira Seto, a Bend, OR-based songleader. She learned it from Sarina Partridge at a hot spring in the wilderness. What a perfect setting for this magically-layered song, full of flourish and well-held harmony. Sarina is based in Minneapolis and you can find many songs by her Here.
I will go down to the well
let the water ring me like a bell
let the water rock me like a child
for this well will not run dry
no this well will not run dry.
I learned this Haunting Lullaby at Village Fire in 2017. Ladino is a language with heavy Spanish influence, from a time when there was a large Jewish population living in Spain, which was pushed out in 1492. Now Ladino is spoken by pockets of Sephardic Jews in Israel, the Balkans, Turkey, Greece, and North Africa. I am a quarter Sephardic, and have absorbed a fair bit of the culture and magic through that line. There are many different versions of this Ladino lullaby that you can find online, none exactly like this. The words mean, "sleep beautiful child, sleep without worry or pain"
Durme, durme, hermosa donzella,
Durme, durme, sin ansia i dolor,
Durme, durme, sin ansia i dolor.
This is an earth blessing song in the style of the traditional hula of Hawaii. The words mean 'Yes, we must do what is right, and take care of the earth.' This is an example of a type of cultural appropriation similar to 'Kudekukuru', in which an outsider with some familiarity with a musical style composes a Western-style choral piece based on a native song or blessing. The message, (almost identical to Kudekukuru,) is one of ecological consciousness, and while it may be a bit of a white guy wanna-be song, it's seriously groovy, respectful and aware of the culture it is inspired from, and has a positive intent. The "crunchy chord" at the end is really satisfying! Here's a video of it being performed.
E Malama i ka heiau x3
E malama pono I ka heiau
This song takes its content from a chapter in Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass (which everyone should read.) All about lichen, which is the embodiment of mutual thriving. Lichen is a co-operation between algae and fungus. Two beings from different "kingdoms" working in harmony to support one another, and weathering the ages in difficult environments. The term 'ear of stone' refers to a common name for a kind of rock tripe/lichen. Here is that chapter read aloud. The quotes we are singing come in at the very end. To fully understand the meaning of this song I highly recommend listening to or re-reading this chapter.
-Oh lichen, oh lichen turning light and stone into flesh and bone.
-Ear of stone will you hear our anguish when we understand what we have done? x2
-May you also hear our hymns of joy when we, likeyou, marry ourselves to the earth.
A classic round you may find in "hippie" circles, or summer camps. The "sail away" part is fun to sing, and the churning rhythms mirror the oceanic theme.
Earth and ocean
sand and rolling sea
wind and motion]fire be lit in me
Lightly touch down to (earth...)
This Epic arrangement comes from German composer Meinhard Ansohn. Suggestion for small groups is to try the melody plus both Alto parts, which could be Octaved down for low voices. That makes a nice three-part!
Evening rise, spirit come
sun goes down when the day is done
mother earth awakens me
with the heartbeat of the sea
So Fun to sing! Another banger from Yeomans. The words speak for themselves. Contemporary UK composer. Space it out enough for the response to have some room around it. In a small group I'd just do lead, Soprano, Tenor. Enjoy!
Every voice shall sing, every light shall shine.
Shine on, shine on...
Halleluia! Shine on Yeah! Shine on
One of my favorite Mary Poppins-esque songs, bringing to mind images of some goofy old English blokes making their way to a gathering or pub across a lake. A very old drinking song, I originally learned it in 2017 when I took the Ferry across the Salish sea to attend Community Choir Leadership Training from magical Canadian song elves.
Dreamy round that embodies the feeling of silent magical snow world. Still searching for the origins...
The first snow falls so silently down,
that none can hear it touch the ground
and still it falls, and falls, and falls.
This song has been described as the distillation of all that Nick Prater told his daughter, Suzie Ro Prater, when he was on his deathbed. Suzie Ro has a unique fire for powerful, vivacious song leading. She has carried along what her father began with the Wild Harmonies chorus and taken it to magnificent new levels. The musicality blends triumphant chords with dissonant depth. It matches the words wonderfully. One of my singers' all-time-favorites, we focus on the fugue/ first half, which has a really different energy than the second half! Here is the original, choral version, and here is Suzie Ro's singer/songwriter solo version.
Listen deeply, a flame in the center of the storm
she sings in silence, inside the ocean of my soul.
A great "bang for your buck" three-parter. Awesome harmonies, clear message. Sing it with a couple friends on a night hike!
-Full moon shining bright, guide my way through the night.
-Full moon shining, guide me through the night.
A mesmerizing and hypnotic round that reminds me of the feelings of spinning and spiraling.
Under the full moon light we dance
Spirits' dance we dance
joining hands we dance
joining souls rejoice
A song that truly gives voice to the power of the full moon, and the feelings that can come out on nights like this! A truly epic and fun song, and one to have in your back pocket for the next time you find yourself staring at the moon!
-On a night like this, I swim with the moon flowing through my soul
-La Luna calls to me open to her ecstasy
-I wanna howl, I wanna scream! In this moon dance I feel all of me
-Let it out, Let it out, let it ALL out--shake it off--shake. it. off! Dance in your fullness dance in your fullness, beauty!
I learned this song as a foot stompin' round at Catoctin Quaker Camp when I was Nine years old. That's how I have it presented here. Turns out there is actually a written score for Soprano, Alto, and Bass, written in 1972, which can be found here. Interesting. It has a calypso rhythmic section... "For Joyous Occasions" . The translation more specifically is "Let us rejoice today."
This song came to Soleil in a dream. I added the ridiculous minor harmonies. Praise be unto an avocado that can really feed you and your friends...
-Giant, giant avocado x3
With a pit in it, giant avocado
-You can eat it with your friends on some tacos!
Another of my pal Karly's magnificent three-parters, I learned this last summer from her at Song Village. It has a bittersweet redeeming quality I think.
For this breath, this sound, this holy, holy ground
for this wondrous living world,
give thanks, give thanks
Original melody by Thomas Ravenscroft from the 1600's. This one has changed over time, the original words were "Go to Jane Glouer (Glover) and tell Her I love her, and by the low of the moon I will come to her" . Some contemporary spoof versions include, "Go to jane Glover and tell her I loath her and by the light of the moon, I'll push her over." This version is the one sung by a late friend of mine, I like how it's more universal.
Go to my mother
and tell her I love her
and by the light of the moon
I will come to her
In her nature-reverent style, Annie gives us one of her most beautiful rounds dedicated to the time of year when successive flushes of yellow mark our Autumnal glory.
Sun wanes along the field
sighing trees let go of leaves
day turns to night again
I found it! Jan Harmon, 1985. Jan lived 1940-1993 and was a prolific songwriter. This one works as a round or a choral song. Here is the info from Jan's website. It is a few notes different from how I learned it. Here is a recording of it being sung as a round. I'm excited to do this one during shanty hour...
Oh the wind, it is a song
that harbors through the winter.
Oh the sail, it is a door
that bids the song to enter.
So let us sail the seas good friend
and let us sing together.
The singer lasts the season long
but the song, it lasts forever.
Coming in with my required Mary Poppins style here, this is SUCH a great round, easy to learn and teach, and with a clear purpose. I have ended many fire circles with this song. Author unknown, older lyrics say "may angels surround you, their silent watch keep".
Goodnight to you all, and sweet be your sleep, may silence surround you, your slumber be deep. Goodnight goodnight goodnight goodnight.